Pack of foxes chase Yellowknife man in residential area
'Is this a fox-zombie apocalypse or something?' Christian Lyons thought as animals persisted
A Yellowknife man is warning others to be careful after a pack of foxes chased him through a patch of woods in downtown Yellowknife Sunday night.
Christian Lyons had just seen Mission Impossible with a friend and was walking towards his home on School Draw Road around midnight. He took a shortcut on a path behind Sir John Franklin High School, just in behind some town homes.
"It's dark, with a little bit of an air of foreboding," he says of the trail.
When he saw the first animal, about three metres away, he thought it was a nice wildlife sighting.
"Then another one came right after it. And then another one. And then there was another one and another one. There was five I counted."
Lyons waited for them to cross the path and carry on through the woods. They did, and he carried on his way.
"Lo and behold, as I came over a ridge, I saw that these, at least five foxes, had circled back and were back on the trail."
He began to feel disconcerted. The foxes weren't fleeing or trying to avoid him.
"It's almost like they looped back to come in front of me so I took stock of the situation. I'm not afraid of foxes. Who would be?"
The pack approaches
The animals began to approach as a pack, loping towards him from about 10 metres away.
"I just kind of jogged backwards in retreat. Not in full-panic flight at this point."
Another five metres down the road, Lyons turned back.
"They were then closing the gap toward me with some intent," says Lyons, a practising lawyer.
At this point, he says, "it was unequivocal flight response. I just started to sprint away from these things."
Lyons, who's not ashamed to admit he's a "very fast runner," made it over a small hill. Glancing backwards, he saw one fox right behind him.
"He'd actually have to run after me to still be that close. I was actually scared at that point, thinking this thing could be rabid."
Lyons sprinted for another 85 metres with at least one fox chasing him the whole way.
"My heart was thumping."
Looping around to reach his house, Lyons kept his eyes peeled for any more "errant foxes" and spotted one, just a few metres from his front door.
"I was like, is this a fox-zombie apocalypse or something?"
He headed straight for the door, nervously jammed his key into the lock, stepped inside and breathed a sigh of relief.
'Full blown mangy beasts'
Lyons says he walks that trail often, and has never seen foxes, or signs of a den, in the area before.
He doesn't think the foxes were rabid, or young.
"I didn't see any baby foxes. They all looked like full blown mangy beasts to me in the dark."
A redhead, he admits the foxes may have had a special interest in him. "Maybe they were trying to bring me into the fold," he jokes.
But the whole encounter has put him somewhat on edge.
"There are a lot of kids that live in the neighbourhood that play in that area," he says.
"It gave me pause that these foxes aren't always benign as we think they are."